The Senate race in Pennsylvania may be the first indication that a change is in store for American politics. Bob Casey Jr., the state’s treasurer and son of one of the few prominent pro-life Democrats in recent decades, is running against conservative GOP firebrand Rick Santorum.
When the race started, Casey held a comfortable lead over Santorum — a lead that has shrunk to spitting distance of the margin of error in recent weeks. Why the Santorum surge and Casey sag? Political pundits fault Casey for the same mistake he made a few years ago when he ran against Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell in the primary — relying on his famous family name to carry the day. In the Senate race, Casey seems to believe that merely not being Santorum is sufficient for victory.
The first of several Casey/Santorum debates is scheduled for this Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Casey better come up with better answers in that debate than he had in a recent interview with the Washington Times if he wants to unseat Santorum.
Asked whether he favored cutting benefits or raising taxes to save Social Security, Mr. Casey repeatedly would not give a direct answer.
“I would do what they did in the 1980s: sit down and have a bipartisan agreement, where both sides sit down and work it out,” he said. “And that could mean a lot of things. You can’t even begin to describe what would happen until these guys in Washington have some kind of real commitment to bipartisanship.”
In the end, the chief financial officer of the sixth most populous state in the country would not offer a single suggestion for Social Security reform.
Yeah, because what they did in the 1980s solved the problem … which is why we’re having to address the issue again. I’ve said it repeatedly over the past few years: Social Security is a government-run Ponzi scheme. If a Fortune 500 company ran its retirement plan in a similar manner, its executives would be sharing a cell with Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling.
A good portion of the American public isn’t happy with the way the GOP has run Congress — and that includes me. However, that doesn’t mean the Democrats can win merely by showing up.
When the Republicans took over control of the House in 1994, their “Contract with America” described their politcal goals and committment to changing the way the government worked (a goal they have unfortunately fallen short of). Democrats have offered nothing more than “we’re not them” — that’s not something that’s likely to resonate with the American moderate.
If Casey can’t defeat Santorum — probably the most vulnerable GOP incumbent senator — then Democrat hopes for a return to power will likely go up in smoke.